Tag Archive | "Creating"

3 Tips for Creating Your Own Independence Day

Tomorrow is Independence Day here in the States, which, for most of us, entails the risk of losing: Your fingers…

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What Elephants, Rats, and Apex Predators Can Teach Us about Creating Durable Businesses

There is a tendency in nature for apex species to get larger and larger. But there is a counterbalance where…

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17 Tips on Creating Thoughtful Marketing Your Audience Will Love You For

Some people talk about “ethical marketing” and “effective marketing” like they’re two different things. But that’s just silly. This week’s…

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Adobe Creating an Industry Around Digital Engagement and Customer Experience Management

Shantanu Narayen, Adobe CEO, recently discussed on CNBC about how Adobe is working to actually create a brand new industry focused on digital engagement and customer experience management. I thought this was interesting in that this makes Adobe a CRM company competing with the likes of Salesforce, rather than what most people think when they hear the name Adobe, a company providing creative, marketing and document solutions.

Much of this new focus will rely on their AI solution, platform Adobe Sensei, which you can read more about here.

Narayen’s expands on Adobe’s intent to be a CRM leader in the excerpts below:

We really believe that what’s happening is that every enterprise wants to in real time engage with customers. When you think about what CRM used to be, CRM was more about a record that was in a relational database. That is not as important as what you do with that customer information and how you make action out of it.

That’s where the Adobe and Microsoft partnership is so valuable because together with what they have done with Azure and the ability for people to process the data at the pace at which they want and what Adobe has done. We enable people to attract customers to your platform. We allow you to engage it. We think we’re actually creating a brand new category and industry which is all about digital engagement and customer experience management, far more critical than what a record might store.

We continue to think that content and data and how content and data come together is really where this magic happens. You’ve walked into a retail store you’re accessing an application on a mobile device and it’s all about what’s the right content that’s being delivered based on the intelligence.

I think it’s a dramatically different approach that Adobe has pioneered and I think it’s companies like Adobe and Microsoft and SAP who actually see this vision for what’s happening in the world.

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3 Resources for Creating More Courageous Content

Sometimes, we’re fearless with our writing and content. We know what we want to say, and we pour it onto the page with passion and courage. Other times … not so much. Nerves or a lack of confidence can keep you from publishing excellent work. This week, we’ve got three resources that will get more
Read More…

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Creating Influencer-Targeted Content to Earn Links + Coverage – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

Most SEO campaigns need three kinds of links to be successful; targeting your content to influencers can get you 2/3 of the way there. In this Whiteboard Friday, Rand covers the tactics that will help your content get seen and shared by those with a wide and relevant audience.

How to create influencer-targeted content - Whiteboard Friday

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Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat about how to create content that is specifically influencer-targeted in order to earn the links and attention and amplification that you often need.

Most SEO campaigns need 3 types of links:

So it’s the case that most SEO campaigns, as they’re trying to earn the rankings that they’re seeking, are trying to do a few things. You’re trying to grow your overall Domain Authority. You’re trying to get some specific keyword terms and phrases ranking on your site for those terms and phrases.

So you need kind of three kinds of links. This is most campaigns.

1. Links from broad, high-Domain Authority sites that are pointing — you kind of don’t care — anywhere on your site, the home page, internal pages, to your blog, to your news section. It’s totally fine. So a common one that we use here would be like the New York Times. I want the New York Times to link to me so that I have the authority and influence of a link from that domain and, hopefully, lots of domains like them, very high-Domain Authority domains.

2. Links to specific high-value keyword-targeted pages, hopefully, hopefully with specific anchor text, and that’s going to help me boost those individual URLs’ rankings. So I want this page over here to link to me and say “hairdryers,” to my page that is keyword targeted for the word “hairdryers.” Fingers crossed.

3. Links to my domain from other sites, in my sector or niche, that provide some of that topical authority and influence to help tell Google and the other search engines that this is what my site is about, that I belong in this sphere of influence, that I’m semantically and topically related to words and phrases like this. So I want appliancegal.com to link to my site if I’m trying to rank in the world of hairdryers and other kinds of appliances.

So of these, for one and three, we won’t talk about two today, but for one and three, much of the time the people that you’re trying to target are what we call in the industry influencers, and these influencers are going to be lots of people. I’ve illustrated them all here — mostly looking sideways at each other, not exactly sure why that is — but bloggers, and journalists, and authors, and conference organizers, and content marketers, and event speakers, and researchers, and editors, and podcasters, and influencers of a wide, wide variety. We could fill up the whole board with the types of people who are in the influencer world or have that title specifically, but they tend to share a few things in common. They are trying to produce content of one kind or another. They’re not dissimilar from us. They’re trying to produce things on the web, and when they do, they need certain elements to help fill in the gap. When they’re looking for those gap-filling elements, that is your opportunity to earn these kinds of links.

Content tactics

So a few tactics for that. First off, one of the most powerful ones, and we’ve talked about this a little bit here on Whiteboard Friday, but probably not in depth, is…

A. Statistics and data. The reason that this is such a powerful tool is because when you create data, especially if it’s either uniquely gathered by you, unique because you have it, because you can collect it and no one else can, or unique because you’ve put it together from many disparate sources, you’re the editorial curator of that data and statistics, everyone like this needs those types of statistics and data to support or challenge their arguments or their assertions or their coverage of the industry, whatever it is.

  • Why this works: This works well because this fills that gap. This gives them the relevant stats that they’re looking for. Because numbers are easy to use and easy to cite, and you can say, “Feel free to link to this. You’re welcome to copy this graph. You’re welcome to embed this chart.” All those kinds of things. That can make it even easier, but much of the time, just by having these statistics, you can do it.
  • The key is that you have to be visible at the time that these people are looking for them, and that means usually ranking for very hard to discover, through at least normal keyword research, long-tail types of terms that use words like “stats,” “data,” “charts,” “graphs,” and kind of these question formats like when, how much, how many, number of, etc.

It’s tough because you will not see many of those in your keyword research, because there’s a relatively few number of these people searching in any given month for this type of gap-filling data, so you have to intuit often what you should title those things. Put yourself in these people’s shoes and start Googling around for “What would I need if I had to write some industry coverage around this?” Then you’ll come up with these types of things, and you can try modifying your keyword research queries or doing some Google Suggest stuff with these words and phrases.

B. Visual content. Visual content is exceptionally valuable in this case because, again, it fills a gap that many of these folks have. When you are a content marketer, or when you’re a speaker at an event, or when you’re an author or a blogger, you need visual content that will help catch the eye, that will break up the writing that you’ve done, and it’s often much easier to get someone else’s visual content and simply cite your source and link to it than it is to create visual content of your own. These people often don’t have the resources to create their own visual content.

  • Why this works: So, for everyone who’s doing posts, and articles, and slide decks, and even videos, they say, “Why not let someone else do the work,” and you can be that someone else and fill these gaps.
  • Key: To do this well, you’re going to want to appear in a bunch of visual content search mediums that these folks are going to use. Those are places like…
    • Google Images most obviously, but also
    • Pinterest
    • SlideShare, meaning take your visuals, put them up in some sort of slide format, give some context to them and upload them to SlideShare. The nice thing about SlideShare, SlideShare actually reproduces each individual slide as a visual, and then Google Images can search those, and so you’ll often see SlideShare’s results inside Google Images. So this can be a great end around for that.
    • Instagram search, many folks are using that especially if you’re doing photos. You can see I’ve illustrated my own hair drying technique right here. This is clearly Rand. Look at me. I’ve got more hair than I know what to do with.
    • Flickr, still being used by many searchers, particularly because it has a Creative Commons search license, and that should bring up using a Creative Commons commercial use license that requires attribution with a link is your best bet for all of these platforms. It will mean you can get on lots of other Creative Commons visual and photography search engines, which can expose you to more of these types of people as they’re doing their searches.

C. Contrarian/counter-opinions. The last one I’ll cover here is contrarian or counter-opinions to the prevailing wisdom. So you might have an opinion like, “In the next three years, hairdryers will be completely obsolete because of X.”

  • Why it works: This works well because modern journalism has this idea and modern content, in fact, has this idea that they are supposed to create conflict and that they should cover both sides of an issue. In many industry specific sorts of fields, it’s often the case that that is a gap that goes unfilled. By being that sort of challenger to conventional wisdom or conventional thinking, you can fill that gap.
  • The key here is you want to either rank in Google search engine for some of those mid or long tail research type queries. These can be competitive, and so this is challenging, but presenting contrarian opinions is often great link bait. This is kind of a good way to earn links of all kinds in here.
  • Second, I would also urge you to do a little bit of comment marketing and some social media platforms, because what you want to start is to build a brand where you are known for having this contrarian opinion on this conventional topic in your space so that people point all these influencers to you when they’re asked about it. You’re trying to build up this branding of, “Well, I don’t agree with the conventional wisdom around hairdryers.” Hairdryers might be a tough topic for that one, but certainly these other two can work real well.

So using these tactics, I hope that you can go reach out and fill some gaps for these influencers and, as a result, earning two of the three exact kind of links that you need in order to rank well in the search results.

And we’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Restaurants Creating Crave on Instagram

According to a post on the Instagram Business blog the number one driver of visits to restaurants is the act of craving. In advertising this simply means making people hungry for what your are selling. Restaurants love Instagram because of its visualness, its frequent use of video in posts and probably most importantly, its primarily consumed on a mobile device.

A 2015 study showed that 53% of frequent diners and 41% of occasional diners use their mobile phone to decide on a fast-food restaurant. You have to assume that’s just as prevalent with restaurants in general. Instagram says that for restaurant goers on mobile, 23% take a photo purely to remember the experience, and 15% share that experience on their social channels. They report that after seeing friends’ photos and videos of fast-food restaurants on Instagram, 66% of frequent diners want to visit.

Interestingly, Instagram users that follow restaurants are 1.4 times more active on Instagram than average, indicating that they use the platform for more than just posting photos. Instagram reports that they like 4.5 times more content, post 3 times more than the average user and comment 7 times more frequently than typical. That’s amazing. One wonders if there is some other common variable other than liking restaurants, but we’ll go with that for now.

Since Instagram was launched food has been a big part of the app, with people posting millions of photos and videos of what they were about to eat. Restaurant have taken note of this posting fetish and thought, what can we do to feed into this without becoming another unwanted ad? That’s where the concept of crave comes in. Restaurants are focusing posts and ads on making people hungry, using Italian music when showing a video of a pizza being made, showing extreme closeups of a Ruby Tuesday hamburger so that people can almost taste it, in the case of Fridays showing a very satisfied person eating their ribs. The point is to focus on the food in order to create the crave.

Instagram says that Ruby Tuesday ran a series of 5 video ads and saw a 22-point lift in ad recall—outperforming similar campaigns by 96%. They say it also drove a 10-point lift in purchase intent among 45-54 year olds—which outperformed nearly 75% of similar campaigns for the same demographic.

“TGI Friday’s developed a two-phased campaign that used video and carousel ads, as well as local awareness ads on Facebook, to promote its ribs and encourage people to enjoy them at a physical location,” noted the Instagram ad team. “The six-week company not only drove a 3-point lift in purchase intent, but more than 50,000 restaurant visits were attributed to the campaign.”

Dairy Queen’s Instagram campaign reach 20 million people, driving an 18 point lift in ad recall among 25-34 year olds. They say it also drove an 8 point lift in awareness of its “Upside Down or Free” promotion and a 3 point lift in purchase intent. Not much in purchase intent but it definitely drove the crave.

“We wanted to build up our presence on Instagram and occupy the currently sparse dessert space,” said Jenell Lammers, Digital Marketing Manager, Dairy Queen (View photo at top). “We’ve done just that with this campaign, which further proved that Instagram is not only great for organic posts but can really drive results.”

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Restaurants Creating Crave on Instagram

According to a post on the Instagram Business blog the number one driver of visits to restaurants is the act of craving. In advertising this simply means making people hungry for what your are selling. Restaurants love Instagram because of its visualness, its frequent use of video in posts and probably most importantly, its primarily consumed on a mobile device.

A 2015 study showed that 53% of frequent diners and 41% of occasional diners use their mobile phone to decide on a fast-food restaurant. You have to assume that’s just as prevalent with restaurants in general. Instagram says that for restaurant goers on mobile, 23% take a photo purely to remember the experience, and 15% share that experience on their social channels. They report that after seeing friends’ photos and videos of fast-food restaurants on Instagram, 66% of frequent diners want to visit.

Interestingly, Instagram users that follow restaurants are 1.4 times more active on Instagram than average, indicating that they use the platform for more than just posting photos. Instagram reports that they like 4.5 times more content, post 3 times more than the average user and comment 7 times more frequently than typical. That’s amazing. One wonders if there is some other common variable other than liking restaurants, but we’ll go with that for now.

Since Instagram was launched food has been a big part of the app, with people posting millions of photos and videos of what they were about to eat. Restaurant have taken note of this posting fetish and thought, what can we do to feed into this without becoming another unwanted ad? That’s where the concept of crave comes in. Restaurants are focusing posts and ads on making people hungry, using Italian music when showing a video of a pizza being made, showing extreme closeups of a Ruby Tuesday hamburger so that people can almost taste it, in the case of Fridays showing a very satisfied person eating their ribs. The point is to focus on the food in order to create the crave.

Instagram says that Ruby Tuesday ran a series of 5 video ads and saw a 22-point lift in ad recall—outperforming similar campaigns by 96%. They say it also drove a 10-point lift in purchase intent among 45-54 year olds—which outperformed nearly 75% of similar campaigns for the same demographic.

“TGI Friday’s developed a two-phased campaign that used video and carousel ads, as well as local awareness ads on Facebook, to promote its ribs and encourage people to enjoy them at a physical location,” noted the Instagram ad team. “The six-week company not only drove a 3-point lift in purchase intent, but more than 50,000 restaurant visits were attributed to the campaign.”

Dairy Queen’s Instagram campaign reach 20 million people, driving an 18 point lift in ad recall among 25-34 year olds. They say it also drove an 8 point lift in awareness of its “Upside Down or Free” promotion and a 3 point lift in purchase intent. Not much in purchase intent but it definitely drove the crave.

“We wanted to build up our presence on Instagram and occupy the currently sparse dessert space,” said Jenell Lammers, Digital Marketing Manager, Dairy Queen (View photo at top). “We’ve done just that with this campaign, which further proved that Instagram is not only great for organic posts but can really drive results.”

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Creating a Local SEO Welcome for New Neighbors and Travelers

Posted by MiriamEllis

In our ongoing quest for local prominence, are we leaving anybody out in the cold? For years, a fundamental message I’ve shared with almost every incoming local business client is that they need local SEO, specifically, because they need to be found on the web by local people. I’d estimate that 98% of everything our industry writes about is tied to this concept, and while this focus is sensible, today I’d like to highlight an underserved (but enormous) target local market: non-local people.

Consider these statistics:

These numbers create a context in which there are literally millions of consumers arriving in unfamiliar towns on a daily basis, in need of a variety of local resources they’ll discover using the Internet. In this article, I’d like to help your local business get discovered with a welcoming, supplementary local SEO strategy based on the understanding that newcomers matter. We’re going to dive into location data management, attribution, and reviews, with an eye to newcomer needs.

What do newcomers really need?

Residents of your city or town have likely already established their favorite restaurant, grocery store, doctor, school, place of worship and pet supply shop. While there are certainly tactics you can employ for trying to edge out the competition to become someone’s new favorite destination, chances are good that longtime locals won’t have too much trouble actually locating you at 123 Main St. if you’re doing good, essential local SEO.

They already know where Main St. is in relationship to other streets, how long it will take to get there and, if they’re established neighbors, what the parking situation is like in that part of town.

Non-locals know none of this. Your city is a blank slate to them, and they’ll be using their desktop and mobile devices to start filling in that slate to create a picture of their destination, both before and after they arrive in town. If you’re not providing the necessary signals to foster transactions with newcomers, if they never learn that your local business exists, it’s a direct hit to your wallet, week after week, year after year.

Which types of local businesses need to appeal to new neighbors and travelers to avoid foregoing desirable revenue? Let’s break that down by industry:

localneeds.jpg

As we can see, a significant number of industries can serve either new neighbors or travelers, and in some cases, both. Let’s look at three intelligent ways to put out the welcome mat for these important consumers.

1. Basic location data management

While settled residents may be able to parse out that your business is actually located on 5th Street rather than 5th Avenue when encountering inconsistent data about your company on the web, don’t expect newcomers to inuit this. Step one in welcoming this user group is to ensure that you’ve got your core name, address, and phone number (NAP) correct in two places:

A) Your website

For the single-location business, this should be easy. Audit every page and element (like the header and footer ) of your website where you mention any part of your NAP for accuracy. Correct any errors. Pay particular attention to your branding. Don’t be The Tree Restaurant on your Contact Us page, The Green Tree Restaurant on your About page, and Green Trees Cafe in your logo. You want to make a cohesive brand impression on your website so that consumers can clearly match it to your real-world signage as they drive through town.

For multi-location businesses, things are a little more complex. In addition to checking that NAP is correct on each of the landing pages you create for each location, be certain those pages are accessible via a well-functioning store locator widget which enables users to search by city (not just by zip code, as most newcomers will not know local zip codes).

B) Your local business listings

Hopefully you’re already engaging in active location data management of your local business listings/citations to help local consumers find you, but know that inconsistencies on major platforms could result in particularly heavy newcomer losses as users get misdirected, lost, and drift away, never to return.

You want a clear NAP dataset on the most important platforms, keeping in mind that even if a particular platform isn’t that popular in your own city, it may be significant in the regions from which newcomers hail. You can do a speedy citation health check for free using the Moz Check Listing tool, which audits your listings on foundational platforms like Google My Business, Bing, Apple Maps, Yelp, Facebook, etc. Correct any inaccurate data the tool surfaces for you, and back up this work with a manual check of any niche directories that apply to your city or industry.

If you find you’ve got significant inconsistencies, or have a large number of locations to manage, you may want to consider purchasing an automated location data management service like Moz Local.

Beyond basic NAP

In addition to managing the NAP on your website and citations, there are 5 elements that are crucial to ensuring newcomers connect with your business:

  1. Driving directions
    Be sure directions and map place markers are accurate on your major citations and, for newcomers, put additional effort into writing up the best possible set of driving directions on your website. Write them out coming from the four cardinal directions and be sure you are associating your business with any major local landmarks that are easily seen from the road. Alert consumers to the presence of hazardous road conditions they may encounter coming from a particular direction and offer detours or shortcuts. Don’t leave out how to navigate large shopping centers if you’re located in one.
  2. Hours of operation
    It’s especially important if your business has seasonal/holiday hours to ensure that you are updating all relevant pages of your website and all of your major local business listings to reflect this for newcomers. If your business is seasonal (like a farm stand or pumpkin patch), set your Google My Business hours when you open for business, and when your season closes, remove them so that they appear ‘un-set,’ with the plan to re-set them next open season. If you have special hours for Christmas or other holidays, follow these directions to avoid Google stamping your listings with a warning that the hours may be inaccurate.
  3. Parking information
    Urban parking can be so appallingly complicated that it has led to the launch of booking services like Parkwhiz, but be sure you’re detailing parking information on your own website, regardless of city size. Don’t forget RV parking accessibility for travelers, whether parking is free, or if paid, the forms of payment local meters/lots accept. Parking info can be especially helpful for people with health concerns, so if on-site parking is unavailable, estimate how far the consumer will have to walk to reach your destination. A lack of parking data once caused me to have climb over cement barriers in a split-level parking lot in search of a salad on a 90+ degree day — it would have been courteous for the grocery store to have saved me from this silly situation with clear directions.
  4. Description
    Google may have replaced their former owner-authorized business description display with their in-house custom description, but most other local business listing platforms still allow you to pen your own. To play to a newcomer audience, which may be forming a very fast impression from your listings via a mobile device, pack your descriptions with the most persuasive information you can think of to help them make a decision. Is it that you’re kid-friendly, carry a certain brand, won a best-in-city award? In the fewest words possible, highlight the most impactful elements of your business to connect with high conversion, targeted newcomers.
  5. Forms of payment
    Failing to inform travelers that your business is cash-only is a deal-breaker, and many major retailers now even refuse to accept checks (which can come as an inconvenient surprise to out-of-towners). Numerous local business listings enable you to specify forms of payment accepted, and you should also at least include a visual representation of supported transaction methods on your website. For your most sophisticated consumers, if you support digital wallets, Bitcoin, or other popular payment alternatives, be sure to highlight this fact.

I recommend that you give first priority to getting your basic location information into beautiful shape on your website and local business listings so that the process of finding your business is as foolproof as possible for newcomers. Now let’s look at some elements that can influence being chosen once you’ve been found.

2. Attribution

It’s no secret in the local SEO industry that Google, Yelp, and other powerhouses are now actively crowdsourcing attribution from reviewers, but if local business attributes are new to you, let’s summarize.

Basically, attributes are snippets of descriptive content that differentiate the nature or features of a given business. Some of the data in the previous section would actually be considered attributes, such as whether a business features free parking, accepts Apple Pay, or offers 24-hour services. In practice, attributes are valuable to search engines in helping them determine the relevance of a result to a given user, and they’re valuable to users in helping to make decisions about whether a specific business provides exactly what they’re seeking.

Significantly, in May of 2016, Google rolled out version 3.0 of the Google My Business API, a new feature of which is the ability for developers to directly add attributes to Google My Business listings. And, as the year closes out, many users are finally seeing promised attribute functionality within the Google My Business dashboard. We can take all this as a clear signal that Google is zooming in on attribution, which they base on business categories. While dashboard attribution is still limited as of writing this, I predict we’ll see it expanding in 2017.

To conceptualize the practical application of attributes, I find it’s helpful to imagine consumer personae. Let’s hypothesize that our restaurant franchise is hoping to win a transaction from a group of six travelers on a family vacation. They are on the road a bit late one evening near one of our locations and are hungry for supper:

  • Dad would be glad to find an all-you-can eat buffet.
  • Mom would love to hear some live music.
  • There are three children; one is gluten-intolerant, one is a vegetarian, and one is a toddler who needs a booster seat and can’t eat full portions.
  • Grandmother urges that they find a salad bar because everyone has been eating too much fast food on this trip.
  • The dog would prefer not to be left in the car all evening.

Look through this very abridged list of Google My Business API attributes applicable to restaurants to see if you can match them to the family members (hey, this is like a game!):

bool.jpg

If some or all of these attributes describe our restaurant location, and we’ve either added them to Google My Business or are earning them from our reviewers on Google, Yelp, or Trip Advisor, we’re making a strong case for being shown as a relevant answer to the family’s search query, and to being chosen by them. Good start! But, I’d like to take the concept of attribution one step further as it relates to local SEO.

I’m not privy to the methodology Google used to come up with their extensive list of attributes for all sorts of business categories, but I’d invite local enterprises and agencies to view attributes as a fascinating roadmap to website content development. Imagine taking the above set of descriptors and writing something like this, in natural language, on the website landing page for our restaurant’s location in Santa Fe:

salsa.jpg

What we’ve done here is to take Google’s attribute hints as to what consumers are looking for and have turned them into a statement that helps a newcomer make a quick, informed mobile decision (call it a ‘micro-moment’ and you’re really being cool!).

For thoroughness, I would recommend combining Google’s attributes with those you are personally prompted to enter when leaving your own reviews on various platforms, and fine-tune it all based on your unique expertise drawn from serving your customer base. It could be that a driving motivation for newcomers to your city and business would be proximity to a point-of-interest, accepting mobile payments, or serving organic food. Think of attributes as clues from search engines, review sites, and directories that you can pass along to customers to qualify your business as the answer to their needs.

Finally, I’d like to take the exploration of attributes one step further. I reached out to TouchPoint Digital Marketing owner, David Deering, who is one of our industry’s foremost experts on local business Schema. I asked if there was a direct relationship between attributes and Schema, and he explained:

“Unfortunately schema.org does not have corresponding properties and values for local business attributes. But there are ways to mark them up anyway. Some are rather straightforward and others take a little more coding but they all can be marked up in one way or another.

Schema.org recently added the “amenityFeature” property for the Place type (which includes the LocalBusiness type) and for LodgingBusiness of which Hotel is a subtype of. So a local business can do something like this to say that it offers free parking, free wifi, that it’s wheelchair accessible and so on:

"amenityFeature": [
    {
    "@type": "LocationFeatureSpecification",
    "name": "Free Parking",
    "value": "True"
    },
    {
    "@type": "LocationFeatureSpecification",
    "name": "Free WiFi",
    "value": "True"
    },
    {
    "@type": "LocationFeatureSpecification",
    "name": "Wheelchair Accessible",
    "value": "True"
    },
    {
    "@type": "LocationFeatureSpecification",
    "name": "Serves Breakfast",
    "value": "True"
    },
    {
    "@type": "LocationFeatureSpecification",
    "name": "Has All-You-Can-Eat Buffet",
    "value": "True"
    }
],

By the way, that is the structure that would need to be used if a business was marking up more than one amenity or attribute.

A hotel could also do something like this to mark up the fact that they have an indoor swimming pool that is open everyday from 7 AM to 10 PM. It’s possible that a similar structure could be used to mark up, say, Happy Hour (I guess that depends if a restaurant’s Happy Hour could be considered an “amenity” or not. I’m not sure.).

"amenityFeature": {
    "@type": "LocationFeatureSpecification",
    "name": "Indoor Swimming Pool",
    "hoursAvailable": [
    {
        "@type": "OpeningHoursSpecification",
        "dayOfWeek": "http://schema.org/Sunday",
        "opens":  "07:00:00",
        "closes": "22:00:00"
        },
        {
        "@type": "OpeningHoursSpecification",
        "dayOfWeek": "http://schema.org/Monday",
        "opens":  "07:00:00",
        "closes": "22:00:00"
        },
        {
        "@type": "OpeningHoursSpecification",
        "dayOfWeek": "http://schema.org/Tuesday",
        "opens":  "07:00:00",
        "closes": "22:00:00"
        },
        {
        "@type": "OpeningHoursSpecification",
        "dayOfWeek": "http://schema.org/Wednesday",
        "opens":  "07:00:00",
        "closes": "22:00:00"
        },
        {
        "@type": "OpeningHoursSpecification",
        "dayOfWeek": "http://schema.org/Thursday",
        "opens":  "07:00:00",
        "closes": "22:00:00"
        },
        {
        "@type": "OpeningHoursSpecification",
        "dayOfWeek": "http://schema.org/Friday",
        "opens":  "07:00:00",
        "closes": "22:00:00"
        },
        {
        "@type": "OpeningHoursSpecification",
        "dayOfWeek": "http://schema.org/Saturday",
        "opens":  "07:00:00",
        "closes": "22:00:00"
        }
        ],

And schema.org does have a direct and simple way to mark up the fact that a restaurant accepts reservations and whether or not smoking is allowed. It would simply be:

  "acceptsReservations": "True",
  "smokingAllowed": "False",    

The same goes for if a hotel or lodging business allows pets:

 "petsAllowed": "True",

Now how much of this Google and the other search engines will use, it’s hard to say. But it certainly can’t hurt for a business to mark up their attributes and amenities on their site. If a website’s markup matches the attributes they’ve included on their Google My Business listing, I think that can only help. And we never know what Google will begin pulling out of a site’s structured data to use for something, so I stick by my motto: Mark up as much as possible and be as thorough as possible.”

In sum, in markets where you are looking for a competitive edge, exploration of thorough Schema amenity markup can dovetail, and might sometimes even correlate, with attribution development, enabling you to define features of your business is way your competitors may be overlooking.

3. Reviews

Here on the Moz Blog, we’ve previously discussed the vital importance of giving special treatment to reviews and testimonials on your website. And, as for reviews on third-party websites, I’m going to make a guess that you’ve already seen studies like this one indicating that a whopping 92% of consumers now read online reviews. Most recently, we’ve covered how to make maximum use of the owner response function available on many review platforms as a form of customer service, reputation management, and free marketing.

But there’s a subject we haven’t yet broached regarding reviews that is highly relevant to serving newcomers, and which recently came up in an exchange I had with Phil Rozek surrounding his excellent article, If Nobody in Your Area Cares About Yelp, Should You Still Bother Getting Reviews There?.

Phil brainstormed 7 great reasons for caring about review giant Yelp, including the visibility of Yelp in-SERP stars for your brand searches in Google, and the fact that Yelp feeds reviews to a number of other important platforms like Apple Maps and Bing Places. What I added to Phil’s list is that, even if Yelp isn’t big in your town, it may be huge in the cities from which your newcomer customers hail.

Surveys have repeatedly cited that Yelp is a much bigger deal on the coasts than in the interior United States. Yet, imagine a large hotel located within 3 miles of the newly-built Minnesota Viking’s U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Local people may not be leaving a ton of Yelp reviews of this hotel. Now, imagine that the San Francisco 49ers (having a MUCH different season than this one) are playing in the NFC Championship game at U.S. Bank Stadium on their way to Superbowl glory. San Franciscans are about to pour into Minneapolis, and they’ll be looking at Yelp in extraordinary proportions to find a hotel. If our hypothetical lodging facility has neglected Yelp because it’s no big deal in their home city, they could be losing out on a very lucrative moment.

This scenario is applicable to all third-party review platforms and all relevant local businesses located near major points-of-interest or event sites. This past summer, Wesley Young used his hometown of Frisco, TX to estimate that that 33% of local commerce was generated by non-locals. Meanwhile, here’s an interesting map of the places Americans were moving to and from in 2016. I would recommend that all local businesses consider gathering intel as to the cities that send them the most newcomers, and the review platforms most used in those cities of origin, to be sure a strong reputation is being developed there.

Completing the welcome

In addition to utilizing local business listing data management, attribute-driven website content, and city-of-origin review management to attract newcomers, here are a few more things you can do to round out the welcome message:

  • If you’ve discovered that certain cities tend to send your city of location a significant amount of newcomers, geotarget paid advertising to be shown to that demographic.
  • Your resident local customers may have the leisure to research your business from their desktop computers, but most of your traveling customers will be on their mobile devices. The quality of the mobile experience your website provides is especially critical to this user group.
  • Most good-sized towns and nearly all cities have welcome centers or tourism boards, many of which produce print materials for visitors. Consider advertising in these publications if your industry is included in my above infographic on local needs. And, if you print your own brochures, seek to have them included in the lobbies of as many local hotels and other businesses as possible.
  • Consider offering a new neighbor discount if you’d like to capture this demographic. Businesses like the Welcome Wagon have been facilitating this form of advertising for almost a century. Or, be your own welcoming committee utilizing both print and social media to promote one-time discounts for new homeowners in your area.
  • Look for tie-in opportunities with other local businesses. If our hypothetical family of 6 vacationers dines at Salsa Roja restaurant, could your auto garage, pottery shop, or swim center advertise on the back of the menu, alerting the family to your existence for tomorrow’s things-to-do agenda? How about getting a coupon code included in that ad, or doing some other form of cross-promotion with the restaurant?
  • Speaking of things-to-do, realize opportunities for publishing best-in-city guides to a particular subject that ties into your business model. For example, a gift shop specializing in nature-themed merchandise near a state or national park could write a wild bird guide listing species to be spotted in the area. A gym could publish a guide to the healthiest restaurants in the city or the best places to run. A pediatrician could write about fun places to take kids in their town. A cell phone store could map out areas of highest connectivity in a rural area. A key benefit to this type of relational topic development will be brand discovery by new neighbors and travelers while they are engaging with the useful content.

If your business is tourism-based (like a hotel chain), it’s likely you are already implementing most of these techniques, but it’s my hope that this article will have helped many more industries consider how crafting an appeal to new or non-locals is both applicable and savvy.

At the opening of this piece, I called this a ‘supplemental’ local SEO strategy, to be implemented as appropriate in addition to all you are already doing well to serve your resident population. The amount of resources you devote to this supplemental effort should be based on a) research as to the number of newcomers and tourists your city receives annually and b) the need for your business to distance itself from competitors with a superior effort.

If your findings are good and your need to compete is strong, why not make 2017 the year you extend a well-planned welcome to your share of those millions of consumers who will be on the move?

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